Another night, another city on a lake, same result. It’s a bit tiresome as the Rockets undo much of their great work of the past two weeks as SEGBABA strikes hard.
After overtime in Detroit in a game that left a bitter taste, Wholesale jerseys and recriminations that needn’t be confined solely to the Rockets, this one can be laid at the feet of Houston, and plaudits can be given to the suddenly feisty Cavs.
Tip your cap to the Cavaliers – there wasn’t a contested mid-range they couldn’t hit tonight. It doesn’t matter in a one game sample if a shot is lower percentage. If they go in, they count. If a lot go in, you win. I doubt Colin Sexton has too many more nights going 13-18 from mid-range, but tonight the rookie seemingly couldn’t miss whatever he threw at the basket, so that’s a feather in his cap.
Cleveland went Old School tonight, and drove into mid-range fall away shots, and crashed the offensive glass with lots of springy ballhandlers without a conscience, and athletes who might have limited games, but could overwhelm the Rockets lone big, Clint Capela. This may be a winning strategy against Houston, but it won’t typically be found at the upper echelon of the NBA, so the worries this outcome instills in me are limited.
The Rockets rested Chris Paul, and Eric Gordon obliged by breaking out of his slump. At some point, one hopes, all the Rockets will be playing within their expected range of competence.
A downside, besides the loss, is the big minutes put up by the starters as Mike D’Antoni chased a win that never got closer than four points of a furious Rockets runs.
Another great offensive output by James Harden (40pts) was wasted.
Harden – 44 minutes
Capela – 40 minutes
Tucker -42 minutes
Gordon – 40 minutes
Fortunately the next game isn’t until, oh wait, it isn’t four days off. It’s Monday, in Washington, as the Rockets seemingly play one game or so at home, and then go on the road forever, with a compressed schedule.
The depth is an issue – one ballhandler plus Eric Gordon isn’t a recipe for success. One big, with occasional contributions from Hartenstein, isn’t a recipe for success. No damned actual PFs is a problem.
I’m not sure I’ve recapped a win yet this year, so I may stop doing them for a while.
NOTE – For various critics out there who think I spend a lot of time on officiating, I think that I don’t. I bring it up when I feel it’s warranted. The reffing wasn’t great tonight, but it wasn’t blindingly strange, and it wasn’t highly in favor of one team or another. FT margin isn’t even an issue, as it should go with attacking and aggressiveness – if both teams are roughly the same, it should be roughly the same. Tonight it was, and Cleveland’s shot making, rebounding, and younger legs at home told the story.